CLEVELAND (AP) -- Dan Haren walked over to the stereo, skipped to
a CD track of his liking, pushed play and smiled. Soon, there were
heads bobbing to the beat in every corner of Oakland's clubhouse.
Haren didn't mind taking over as DJ. Whatever the Athletics
needed, he was more than willing to give them.
Haren limited baseball's hottest team to four singles in 6 2/3
innings and pushed Oakland closer in the AL wild-card standings as
the A's beat Cleveland 2-0 Monday night, stopping the Indians'
seven-game winning streak.
Haren (13-10) made sure the A's took the opener of a three-game
series they can't afford to lose. Oakland, a major league-best
36-20 since the All-Star break, beat C.C. Sabathia (13-10) to pull
within one game of the first-place Angels in the AL West and 1½ games of the wild card-leading Indians.
"By far, it's the happiest I've been after a win all year,"
said Haren, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his previous start, a
no-decision against Seattle. "With Sabathia on the mound, I knew I
had to step it up tonight. I'm happy for my team. That's the way
I'm supposed to pitch because these games are so, so important."
The A's made three errors but did just enough offensively to
hand Sabathia his first loss since July 30. Jason Kendall hit an
RBI single in the third off the left-hander, and Mark Kotsay
delivered a sacrifice fly in the seventh against reliever Scott
"We had a little ragged play," Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
"But the pitching raised it up a little bit."
Cleveland, 19-7 since Aug. 16, has a one-game edge over the New
York Yankees, who open a three-game set on Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
Sabathia won his previous seven starts, but he wasn't as sharp
this time and constantly had to work out of trouble because of five
walks. He allowed one earned run and four hits in six innings.
"I didn't have the command I had in the last month or month and
a half," he said. "I had to battle the whole time I was out
there. It seemed like I was in trouble every inning. I didn't pitch
After Rincon's one-out error, Duchscherer came in and struck out
Coco Crisp, who came in batting an AL-best .341 against
right-handers. Street worked a perfect ninth for his 21st save,
completing the combined four-hitter.
"We used a lot of pitchers," Macha said. "I needed to make
sure we got 27 outs and the ballgame. If it takes 10 pitchers, then
let's do it."
The A's, who trailed the Los Angeles Angels by two games in the
AL West coming in, took a 2-0 lead in the seventh. They loaded the
bases against reliever Arthur Rhodes when Dan Johnson walked, Mark
Ellis doubled and Kendall was hit by a pitch.
Kotsay followed with his sacrifice fly off Sauerbeck to make it
2-0, and the A's reloaded the bases when Eric Chavez walked. But
reliever Rafael Betancourt kept the Indians within two by striking
out Jay Payton.
Sabathia got away with a walk in each of the first two innings,
but the one-out pass he issued to No. 9 hitter Marco Scutaro cost
him in the third. Scutaro stole second as Ellis struck out and
scored on Kendall's hit.
The Indians' best scoring chance came in the fifth when they got
Aaron Boone to third with one out against Haren. But Casey Blake
pulled a grounder right at the bag, forcing Boone to stay at third,
and Grady Sizemore flied out.
"The story for us was we were never able to get anything
going," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "We swung at a lot of
pitches that were out of the zone. He was throwing a sweeping
breaking ball in there and did a good job with his fastball."
The A's are 3-1 on a 10-game trip. ... The Indians didn't
homer for the first time in 11 games. ... Since the All-Star break,
Ellis is batting .357 (64-for-179). ... The Indians have the league
leader in ERA (Kevin Millwood, 3.11) saves (Bob Wickman, 39) and
winning percentage (Cliff Lee, .800). ... Chavez went 0-for-4 with
a walk and three strikeouts and is batting .183 (11-for-60) in his
last 15 games. ... Crisp was selected the AL's top player last
week, beating out five other Indians who were nominated for the
award after Cleveland went 7-0. ... The A's stopped a four-game
losing streak and won for just the third time in 13 games at Jacobs